Prognostic value of plasma HIV RNA among highly active antiretroviral therapy users.

Tarwater PM, Gallant JE, Mellors JW, Gore ME, Phair JP, Detels R, Margolick JB, Munoz A.

AIDS. 2004 Dec 3;18(18):2419-23.

BACKGROUND: The study objective was to compare the prognostic value of plasma HIV RNA and CD4 cell count at baseline and as time-updated variables in highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) users for two outcomes: development of AIDS and change in CD4 cell count. METHODS: The study population comprised 387 men enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study who were AIDS-free and initiated HAART between 1996 and 2001. Follow-up until AIDS diagnosis (n=36, 9%) or the last AIDS-free visit was included. To determine the predictive value of combining HIV RNA and CD4 cell count, regression tree methods using recursive partitioning at pre-specified cut points for both variables were used. RESULTS: Low CD4 cell count was a strong predictor of AIDS among HAART users. However, HIV RNA showed strong prognostic value for AIDS development among those with CD4 cell counts > 250 x 10(6) cells/l, in whom an HIV RNA level > 1000 copies/ml carried a 4.6-fold greater risk of developing AIDS. HIV RNA < 5000 copies/ml was also predictive of subsequent increase in CD4 cell count with significantly higher increases among those with initial CD4 counts > 300 x 10(6) cells/l. CONCLUSION: Although, in HAART users, CD4 cell count was the primordial prognostic marker, an HIV RNA > 1000 copies/ml attained after HAART initiation was a strong predictor of the rate of subsequent CD4 cell count increase and of developing AIDS in patients whose CD4 cell counts were > 250 x 10(6) cells/l.

PMID: 15622318

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.